Mary J. Blige

John Shearer/

Mary J. Blige is putting her money where her inspiration is.

The reformed R&B star has announced plans to launch FFAWN, the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, a new charity initiative in her hometown of Yonkers aiming to empower underprivileged women and girls.

"Most of my life was centered around living for the moment," Blige said. "I had very few resources and very little real life education to make good decisions. What I did have was a voice and that ultimately became my vehicle of growth.

"It is my great hope that FFAWN will be a vehicle to help other women reach greater heights despite their environment, despite low self-esteem, despite their immediate circumstances."

Blige and Jada Pinkett Smith serve on the charity's board of directors. After opening the Yonkers center, FFAWN will make its mark in New York City and then nationwide.

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